Judicial appointments are rarely thought of as an environmental issue, but they have become an environmental priority. Federal judges play a crucial role in interpreting and enforcing the laws that protect our nation's clean water, clean air, communities and special natural places. Citizens concerned about environmental protection – as the vast majority of people in this country are – expect that the judges confirmed by the Senate will uphold rather than undermine the important environmental laws passed by Congress.
Never before have the stakes been higher. A growing number of judges are exceeding their proper role by rewriting laws passed by Congress, in order to serve the judges' own personal preferences. A few more judges out of this mold will tip the balance in many courts and seriously weaken if not nullify many of our landmark environmental statutes.
The growing number of these judges who are willing to substitute their agenda for the laws enacted by Congress elevates the importance of the confirmation process. That is why today over a dozen major environmental groups, including Earthjustice, are sending a letter to every member of the United States Senate asking them to give careful consideration to each nominee's environmental record and views on relevant legal issues. The mere absence of some disqualifying event in a nominee's past should not entitle him or her to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.
The Senate must vote to confirm only those nominees who have affirmatively demonstrated a record of fair and evenhanded interpretation of the law and a commitment to uphold, not undermine, this country's environmental statutes.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.